Not long ago the all-star game took place in Orlando. Unfortunately I wasn’t there to watch it live neither had access to the only TV channel broadcasting it. Pity. The good thing was that I had Internet connection so I downloaded the file called “Allstar_game.avi” that was kindly provided to me by an anonymous user. Thank you , sir! Plenty of records got re-written that night. But the one that caught my attention the most was the All star game points total. Previously next to #1 in that statistic proudly stood the name of a person who , when was at his best was described as “AIR” Michael Jordan. Now it’s Kobe Bryant , in a decade it’s going to be Kevin Durant. I must say I feel a bit sad about MJ but that’s what statistics and records are all about – being re-evaluated once in a while. It’s clear when you look at the papers that Kobe is a flawless superstar but the ones that are old enough will remember that Bulls’ 23 was even more of a super athlete. He was the closest thing you can image to superhuman on the basketball court. As simple as that – it was MJ competing against himself for being the best man ever to play the game and if you want some proof I’ll just mention that he needs more than one hand to put on his championship rings and he did the second streak of three after leaving the NBA for a year of baseball. I’m not trying to convince you that MJ was better than the present Lebron James but I’ll try to sneak the suspicion. Imagine Lebron always making the buzzer-beaters and being way ahead of the competition in the playoffs. That was MJ’s standard. And he also has a statue of himself in Chicago. But those record breaking points of Kobe made me think globally. Outside the NBA there are plenty of examples too.
A decade ago when M.Schumacher won a Grand Prix it was considered something regular. Like the sunrise. He used to win the championships with up to 6 races remaining. And he even won the remaining as an already crowned champion. Many critics will try to explain his domination with the truly brilliant Ferrari but that was not the case. He had the special something which made him better than the rest. A blend of talent , motivation , courage and magic.
Then comes Federer. Earlier in his career it was quite simply impossible to beat him. He shredded the records book of the sport with ease. Bookmakers gave a triple digit multiplier against him and there were no bets at all.
In football I think it’s needless to say how much Messi has done recently.
But being a legend doesn’t necessarily mean being the best superstar ever in the sport. Not even close. Let me clarify: Klitschko would most definitely win against Ali. Or Pele might even not be in the top10 goalscorers of the present days’ Champions league. Being labeled as a living legend means that an athlete is the current best of the best in the sport and the competition is so far behind that his/her name deserves a place in history.
Lazy-reader version: A sports legend is someone who performs off the scale of the known possible. A person who is a lifetime ahead of the rest in the business , an athlete from the future. Every sport has them and no one with a “legendary” status hasn’t got it by chance and I , just like you enjoy watching them at work.